The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it has received consumer reports of acute pancreatitis linked to several popular Type 2 diabetes drugs classified as SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana, Farxiga and Jardiance.
“The appearance of a drug on this list does not mean that FDA has concluded that the drug has the listed risk,” the FDA said on its website. “It means that FDA has identified a potential safety issue, but it does not mean that FDA has identified a causal relationship between the drug and the listed risk.”
Medication like SGLT2 inhibitors treat Type-2 diabetes by keeping the kidneys from absorbing glucose. People with Type-2 diabetes have problems regulating their blood sugar, and these medications prevent the kidneys from absorbing too much. Instead, the glucose (sugar) is passed through urination without being absorbed.
The pancreas, which is the organ responsible for creating insulin, may also become inflamed in patients on SGLT2 inhibitors, a condition known as pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is fatal in about 10 percent of all cases. Common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, swollen abdomen, fever and rapid pulse.
The FDA has already investigated SGLT2 inhibitors after the agency received multiple reports that they could lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition where the body produces high levels of acid in the blood. If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis can cause comas and eventually death. In 2015, the FDA ordered manufacturers to change their warning labels to advise patients and doctors of the risk of developing ketoacidosis and serious urinary or kidney infections.
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